Backhaul is the backbone of your wireless network infrastructure. This simple formula says it best:
BACKHAUL ISSUES = NETWORK ISSUES
So how can you prevent the issues that will make you feel like you've invested in a nightmare instead of the smooth sailing you were hoping for?
We've identified the 5 key issues below:
1. Environmental Planning
You literally need to know what you're getting into! Consider the following:
- Terrain: Are you shooting through desert, woods, a rural, suburban, or urban area?
- Visibility: Is the path Line-of-Sight (LOS) or non Line-of-Sight (nLOS)?
- Path Obstructions: Are they permanent such as buildings and mountains, or are they changing like deciduous trees whose leaves fall seasonally?
- Weather Patterns: What do you expect in terms of rain, hail, ice, snow, wind?
- Range: How far is the link?
- Damage Protection: How will you properly ground against lightning; stabilize dish wind load for hurricanes, tornados, and strong winds; and prevent vandalism?
- Power Supply: Do you have access to a power source, or will you need a remote power solution involving wind, solar, etc. What POE cabling will be required?
Knowing your environment is fundamental to the success of your backhaul.
2. Frequency Coordination & Licensing
Link range is an obvious factor in determining your transmit frequency, but knowing who your neighbors are is equally important. Following the proper frequency coordination process protects both you and them from causing interference with each other. If using licensed band radios, the licensing protocol must be followed as well to avoid legal issues with the FCC. Get you ducks in a row at the outset so that you don't find yourself getting bogged down with legal issues and angry neighbors!
3. Future proofing
Today you have x amount of customers depending on x amount of throughput at x amount of locations. Have you considered:
- How long your customers will be satisfied at the current speed offerings?
- Your potential for local growth?
- Opportunities for network expansion in the region?
- Equipment manufacturer roadmaps for product development?
Thinking through these factors now will help you to get extend the lifetime if your solution and before the inevitable upgrade is needed down the road.
4. Equipment Selection
Beyond the basic requirements of range, frequency, and throughput, there are many other aspects to consider when selecting your Point-to-Point radios. Today's backhaul can be and extremely powerful and feature-rich, so it's good to know what the possibilities are, and how the radios compare. Specs to be mindful of include:
- Channel Bandwidth
- Spectral Efficiency
- GPS Synchronization
- Adaptive Coding & Modulation
- Ethernet and TDM Support
- Transmit and Receive Capability
- Indoor or Outdoor Configuration
- Enclosure Ruggedness
Being informed of all the available options and considering what will work optimally in your scenario ahead of time can help prevent buyer's remorse.
5. Strategic Financing
Backhaul infrastructure is an investment. You may not always find yourself with the cash on hand to acquire the equipment necessary to "strike when the iron is hot." With the careful management of resources, a viable option for your business to continue progress may very well be through financing, especially when it comes to backhaul. A variety of financing programs exist that you may be able to choose from in order to proceed with your business plan. Consider how financing will allow you to pay as you grow instead of depleting capital up front and operating in the red or in a vulnerable position financially. Never over-extend your budget, but also avoid missing opportunities that may be more with reach than you realize!
Do your homework, be prepared, and don't miss opportunities! Don't be numbered among those that scratch their heads saying, "Why is there never enough time to do something right the first time, but always enough time to do it again?!" Spare yourself the time, money, and frustration, and prevent backhaul issues before they start! Think it through and do it right!
If you need guidance in addressing these issues with your backhaul, consult with professionals who can walk you through the discovery and planning process, and connect you to key financial resources if neccessary. The DoubleRadius team is here to offer our backhaul expertise - we're just a click away!